The French blockbuster Les Intouchables and the Austrian director Michael Haneke's Palme d'Or winner Amour are front-runners on a shortlist of nine published on Friday for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
The list of films still in the running - whittled down from 71 movies in a longlist published in October - also included films from Canada (War Witch), Chile (No), Denmark (A Royal Affair), Iceland (The Deep), Norway (Kon-Tiki), Romania (Beyond the Hills) and Switzerland (Sister).
The Hong Kong movie master Johnnie To and China's Chen Kaige - whose Farewell My Concubine won the top prize at Cannes in 1993 - did not make the list.
The five finalists will be announced on January 10, along with nominations in all other categories for the 85th Academy Awards, to be held on February 24.
Les Intouchables by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano has become the film with the second-biggest take at the French box office and the biggest French film ever overseas. It tells the story of a wealthy quadriplegic Frenchman who hires a young man from an urban ghetto to look after him following a horrific road crash.
Haneke's Amour won the Cannes International Film Festival's top prize in May. It tells the wrenching tale of a man and his dying wife, chronicling her physical and mental decline as he fulfils a pledge to care for her at home until the end. - AFP